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Thread: Talk to me about the 38/44 Heavy Duty

  1. #1
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    Talk to me about the 38/44 Heavy Duty

    I'm thinking 'bout getting a 38/44 Heavy Duty ...... well actually I made a casual run at one today , but I sort of let it slip away .

    I didn't know if the bidding was getting too high , since I haven't done my usual exhaustive due diligence .

    So tell me gents - Is it a nice shooter ?

    Anything in particular to look for or shy away from ?

    What's a good shooter grade going for ?

    Show 'em off , talk 'em up .

    Thanks .


    Regards ,
    George
    First line of defense , my faithful Pit - don't mess with Mr. Kane !

    Lovin' it here in N. Ga - I wasn't born here , but I got here as fast as I could .

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    George, I gotta be honest I have two of these 38/44 HD's from the 1930's and I bought em cheap many years ago, cause I liked the way these old N-frames with the enclosed ejector rod housing and the half moon sight looked. I only have shot them with the FBI +P load as far as top end 38 special loads go, and except for a somewhat milder recoil as compared to the lighter k-frame revolvers, I have nothing electrafying to report. - That said, when these were in vogue with law enforcement, the factory 38/44 was reputed to spit out its bullets at todays 357 magnum velocities; which is a whole lot different than the FBI load mentioned. There were metal piercing bullets available for this gun that would penetrate car sheet metal of the period and was reputed to shoot through early bulletproof vests. I suppose as a hand-loader you could work up some duplicate loads to match the original loading - this would in effect give you a fixed sight 357 magnum, recoil taming N-frame.
    Hank
    Last edited by Triplelock; 01-07-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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    I had a 6 1/2 inch barreled HD once, I wish I had it back. Someday when my finances get back in order to where at the end of the end of the week I have more than just enough to buy a %^#$ing happy meal I will try to get another one. It's on my short list. You can put any .38 Special you like in it, any handload the .38-44 SuperSpeed loads (predecessor of the .357 Magnum) through them. They were for a time the cat's butt in law enforcement circles. Even after the .357 came out alot of guys couldn't afford the expense of the Magnum so they kept with these. They were so popular they were in production until 1966, thirty one years after the .357 was introduced.
    DocZeus and WendyZXZ like this.
    "No people in the world ever did achieve their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed must being in blood, whatever may answer afterward."
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    IMHO the .38/.44 in either Heavy Duty or Outdoorsman trim are some of S&W's finest. I particularly like the pre-war models but they command substantial premium in my area. Best shooters for the money are the Model of 1950 or pre Model 20 or 23. I've seen Heavy Duties in this configuration from the mid $500's to the mid $800's and Outdoorsman from $600 up. These prices were all gun show or LGS, people on gunbroker seem to think they are rare and highly sought after versions of registered magnums. Prewar versions of these guns should have the large silver medallion service grips or prewar magnas. All others should have diamond Magna grips. If not equipped with proper stocks expect to spend $150 or more (a lot more for prewar) for correct stocks if it makes a difference to you, if not, act like it's a deal breaker and use it as leverage to lower the price. Good luck in your search, but like anything S&W, this is an addictive subset. Proceed with caution!
    DocZeus and WendyZXZ like this.
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  5. #5
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    I had one back in the 60's when I was a teenager and liked the heck out of it........I must have put a ton of lead through it. Then I got my first .357 and made the mistake of trading the 38/44 for something that I didn't have (I don't even remember what it may have been, but I remember the 38/44). My aspiring (but financially very humble/broke) young man logic was probably something like, "Okay, so now I've got a .357 that'll do what the 38/44 does......I don't need two of them.........I think I'll trade it for a XYZ (whatever that was)".

    As we age/mature, our perspectives change..............

    Today, I wish I had a nice 38/44.

    Regards,

    Geeze
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    If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen are defrocked, shouldn't it follow that cowboys would be deranged?

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    38/44s are similar in practicality as the .44 special models. There may not be a completely logical reason to get one since a magnum will allow you to shoot both for less money. However, like a purpose-built .44 special the tapered barreled models just look and feel more natural for shooting non-magnums.

    Some folks, myself included, don't get much kick out of magnums and the classic feel of an 38/44 is perfect for N-frame .38 special shooting. My Outdoorsman is my favorite shooter. If I could have only one N-frame it would be a Model-28, but since I can have two I spend much more time shooting The OD.
    Poohgyrr, Oldgungeezer and DocZeus like this.

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    Over the years (not that many by any standard), I have read that many have hade their cylinders worked over toaccept .357 cases. Another bargaining chip if you find one.
    My friends call me 'Mick'
    Save the Second Amendment, take a kid shooting!

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    A gun this big and heavy in 38 Special is a bit illogical. But they are fun to own and shoot. I would like a 5" but wound up with 2 in 4" length. One is an ex lawman's gun out of Texas and the other shipped to an Arkansas PD.





    "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend." -Margaret Thatcher.

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    Well since Saxon Pig showed both of his, I'll show my 2nd one. You might figure with the Tyler-T this one gets shot more. I guess I'll have to resurrect the grips though.


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    I have a couple of 4 inchers and enjoy them immensely. As others have pointed out, they will handle hot 38s and not think twice about it. Being an N frame, the recoil is mild. And they just feel good in the hand. Last but certainly not least, they're just plain purty!

    If you find a good deal, I'd advise to get it. I'm sure you won't regret it.







    Carl


    ​S&WCA | SAF | GOA Life | NRA Benefactor


 

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